The Politics of Postmodernism

Routledge, 1989; republished with a new epilogue, 2002.
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The Politics of Postmodernism

Driven by a desire to show why postmodernism should matter, this study of representation in art forms—from fiction and film to photography and painting—examines the potential and real political challenges of the postmodern to dominant western ideologies, past and present. Less about the representation of politics than about the politics of representation, this book examines a wide range of postmodern art that is paradoxically both self-reflexive/textual and worldly/historical, that is, looking both inward and outward. While this mode of double-coded representation can be considered politically compromised, it can also be seen as a way to “de-naturalize” the things western culture takes for granted. Postmodern representations—its images and stories—are anything but neutral, even if their critique is inevitably complicitous.

Table of Contents

Chapter One: Representing the Postmodern
What Is Postmodernism?
Representation and its Politics
Whose Postmodernism?
Postmodernity, Postmodernism, and Modernism

Chapter Two: Postmodern Representation
De-naturalizing the Natural
Photographic Discourse
Telling Stories: Fiction and History

Chapter Three: Re-presenting the Past
'Total History' De-totalized
Knowing the Past in the Present
The Archive as Text

Chapter Four: The Politics of Parody
Parodic Postmodern Representation
Double-coded Politics
Postmodern Film?

Chapter Five: Text/Image Border Tensions
The Paradoxes of Photography
The Ideological Arena of Photo-graphy
The Politics of Address

Chapter Six: Postmodernism and Feminisms
Politicizing Desire
Feminist Postmodernist Parody
The Private and the Public

Epilogue: The Postmodern . . .in Retrospect
'What Was Postmodernism?'
Internationalizing the Postmodern . . and Colliding with the Postcolonial
Irony versus Nostalgia: Postmodernism and Queer Theory and Practice
The World, the Text, and the Critique

Concluding Note: Some Directed Reading